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Ford Madox Ford: The Good Soldier

5. Chronology

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About this Lecture


In this module, we try to make sense of the chronological order of the events described in the narrative, thinking in particular about its three main oddities: (1) the characters' obsession with dates, (2) the recurrence of the 4 August as a date when important things happen, and (3) the apparent inconsistency about what happened on 4 August 1904.


In this course, Professor Max Saunders (King's College, London) explores Ford Madox Ford's 1915 novel, the Good Soldier. We begin by providing a brief introduction to Ford Madox Ford and his literary circle, before discussing his status as an 'impressionist' writer. In the second module, we think about Dowell as an 'unreliable narrator' – in what way is he unreliable? is his unreliability accidental, as he himself claims, or deliberate? – before turning in the third module to the presentation of sex and sexuality in the novel. In the fourth module we think about the imagery of the heart in the novel, focusing in particular on passion and repression, love and sex, and the relationship between love and identity, before turning in the fifth and final module to think about some of the thornier issues related to the chronology of the novel – most importantly: what actually happened on 4 August 1904?


Max Saunders is Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, Professor of English and Co-Director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London, where he teaches modern literature. He studied at the universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and was a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is the author of Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press, 1996) and Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press 2010); the editor of five volumes of Ford’s writing, including an annotated critical edition of the first volume of Ford’s Parade’s End: Some Do Not . . . (Carcanet, 2010). He has published essays on Life-writing, on Impressionism, and on a number of modern writers. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship from 2008-10 to research the To-Day and To-Morrow book series; and in 2013 an Advanced Grant from the ERC for the Ego-Media 5-year collaborative project on Digital Life Writing.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Saunders, M. (2018, August 15). Ford Madox Ford: The Good Soldier - Chronology [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Saunders, M. "Ford Madox Ford: The Good Soldier – Chronology." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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